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Robert B. Merrifield was born in Richmond, Ky, grew up in Detroit and attended Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green before receiving a degree in journalism from Wayne State University in Detroit.

He has worked as a journalist continually since 1965, including jobs with the Associated press, the Detroit News and the Chicago Tribune.

His assignments have included picture editor, copy editor, reporter, columnist, news editor, Sunday editor, financial news editor and makeup editor.

He is married and has lived in Joliet, Il, for the last 25 years.

Merrifield is certified as a level 8 (10 is highest) Spanish speaker, based on the Standardized Language Proficiency Examination.